Texas Highways - Craft Breweries

December 8th, 2011
In the most recent Texas Highways magazine, there is an interesting article on the growing popularity of craft beer among Americans. Author Ian Dille decided to take a tour of Texas, where he stopped at many of the well-known craft breweries- defined as a modern microbrewery that seek the support of informed beer consumers by following traditional brewing practices. Let’s take a look at his experiences with two of the five local breweries on this state wide journey, they all tell their own story of dedication and passion for producing great tasting beer. h2. Shiner - Spoetzl Brewery When entering Shiner (pop. 2,070) from the north on quiet Texas 95, the white brick Spoetzl Brewery:http://destinationbeer.com/breweries/spoetzl-brewery building signals civilization. Initially constructed in 1909 by a group of German farmers who yearned for the beer of their homeland, the brewery has been considerably expanded. Today, it produces approximately 370,200 million barrels of beer per year. (One barrel is equal to31 gallons.) !/system/artwork/0000/0241/Shiner_Blonde.jpg!:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-blonde !/system/artwork/0000/0243/Shiner_Bock.jpg!:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-bock !/system/artwork/0000/0245/Shiner_Dunkelweizen.jpg!:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-dunkelweizen The Spoetzl Brewery:http://destinationbeer.com/breweries/spoetzl-brewery currently makes five styles of beer year round, plus two seasonally, including Shiner Dunkelweizen:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-dunkelweizen (German for dark wheat), a hearty winter brew with a smooth, slightly sweet aftertaste. The flagship, Shiner Bock:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-bock, constitutes 87 percent of the brewery’s production, but those who live and work in Shiner tend to favor Shiner Blonde:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/shiner-blonde. The golden lager, formerly known as Shiner Premium Beer, served as the brewery’s initial recipe, but was renamed when Shiner Bock soared in popularity. “It’s what we all grew up on,” says Dotsy Elliot, who fills my cup in the brewery’s hospitality room. “I think I had Shiner Blonde in my baby bottle.” Brewmaster Jimmy Mauric, the on-site leader of Shiner’s 58 employees, started at the Spoetzl Brewery 30 years ago as a bottle washer. “As a kid I could smell the beer brewing while playing in my backyard,” he says. He prides Shiner beer on both its drinkability and its consistency. In the brweery’s lab, Mauric’s colleague Peter Takacs, a white-coated quality-control manager, tests each batch for taste and color-ensuring that the next Shiner you drink is just as good as the one you just had. h2. Fort Worth - Rahr & Sons Brewery According to the Web site of Fort Worth’s recently opened Rahr and Sons Brewing Co., the 150-year history of Rahr family brewing is nearly older than that of the city itself. Upon entering the brewery’s museum-like office, filled with century-old artifacts from the family’s original Eagle Brewery and Malting House in Wisconsin, I believe it. !/system/artwork/0000/0239/Rahr_Ugly_Pug.jpg!:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/rahr-ugly-pug Later, seated at a table covered in half empty Rahr and Sons beer bottles, my tour guide, Mark Wedge, flips through a picture book of Rahr’s history. Founded in 1987 by German immigrant Wilhelm Rahr, the Eagle Brewery chose to close down brewing operations in the early 1990s, leaving only the Rahr Malting Co., which today includes the single largest malting facility in the world. In 2004, Fritz Rahr, William’s great-great-grandson, quit his job in marking and sales and revived the family brewing tradition. Of the brewery’s eight beer styles, the award-winning Rahr Ugly Pug Black Lager:http://destinationbeer.com/beers/rahr-ugly-pug remains the most popular. “Even people who have written off dark beer enjoy this one,” Wedge says, pouring out a chocolate-colored liquid that emits notes of caramel and coffee. “It’s black, but drinks like a light-bided beer-good for Texas heat.” Dille, Ian. “Texas on Tap.” Texas Highways July 2008: 44-49